Consider the cumbia, that most humble yet versatile musical genre. Born, as the story goes, from the rhythmic shuffling of shackled legs belonging to African and Indio-mestizo laborers quietly subverting their slavemasters' prohibitions against song, dance, and drums, cumbia's popularity has crossed borders and blended genres. Run through any fan's iTunes shuffle and you're just as likely to encounter an accordion-driven Colombian vallenato as you are a bass-heavy Mexican sonidero or a dance number by late Tex-Mex superstar Selena. There's cumbia rock, cumbia reggae, and, if Chicha Libre's show tonight is any indication, we can add psychedelic surf cumbias to the list. An old sound made new again by a band that's pure heart, this New Yorkbased outfit (led by a French expat) pays and plays loving homage to the low-fi electric Chicha groove, characterized by twangy guitars, the warm hum of the Farfisa organ, and that infectious, irreplaceable beat, first popularized some four-plus decades ago in and around Peru's Amazonian basin. We can't wait to hear it.
Fri., Sept. 26, 11:30 p.m., 2008